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Sustainability and prosperity

Development initiatives can and must safeguard local environments

This is the first article in a six part series about environmental issues in Indonesia.

Judith Mayer

   Rice offering evokes sustainable farming ideals in Bali
   Judith Mayer

Recent policy initiatives around the world recognise that the highest value of natural resources is often realised by conserving them intact and in place, providing crucial ‘environmental services’, local and global. Fulfilling the promise of such an approach is the focus of thousands of environment and development efforts in Indonesia. Some communities organise to harness new local opportunities presented by funds mobilised through global efforts to mitigate climate change and support more sustainable paths to development. Others organise to resist the devastating impact of the rush by private and state-sponsored investors to exploit resources sometimes being drawn into conflicts exacerbated by ambiguities of power in the wake of regional autonomy reforms.

The articles that will appear over the next few weeks in Inside Indonesia assert that the protection of local environments is a key to both health and prosperity. Nicola Colbran begins by reporting on local resistance to manganese mining in East Nusatenggara, where communities have come together to protest regional politicians’ corporate manoeuvres, which are devastating their land and degrading clean water sources. This conflict is a type of environmental and social tragedy all too common across Indonesia. Yet this time, local organisers may succeed in mobilising both

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